It has become a truism for Campaign 2020 that the campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass for the presidency has seen better days. After a brief surge during the fall, Warren has started to go into what some have termed a death spiral in the polls, with the other top tier candidates, Sanders, Biden, and Buttigieg fighting it out for the front runner status.
Several reasons exist for Warren’s reversal of fortune, but one most often cited has been growing doubts about her version of Medicare for All. The idea that the government would pay for healthcare has been beguiling in certain quarters. One would just go to the doctor, present one’s Medicare for All Card, and get treated. There would be no worries about premiums, copays, and deductibles.
That’s the theory, anyway, but Americans have started to harbor doubts about government-run healthcare. Warren has been cagey about who would pay for the system, claiming that billionaires and big corporations would shoulder the burden.
However, Bernie Sanders, who also has a Medicare for All scheme, has been honest enough to admit that the middle class would see a hefty tax increase as well. Bernie claims that the savings from now having to deal with insurance and “efficiency” caused by a single payor would more than make up the difference.
Warren has also run into a problem that supporters of government healthcare had not anticipated. The vast majority of Americans have private insurance, either through their work or negotiated by a labor union, and are quite happy with what they have. The idea that they would lose their private insurance for something from the government makes many Americans uneasy.
Needless to say, more informed Americans have heard horror stories of long wait times for treatment and even denial of life-saving procedures endemic in the government-run healthcare systems in Canada and the UK. The last thing a person with a cancer diagnosis wants to hear is that they have to wait three or four months before seeing a specialist.
Warren, taking note of this, has decided on some alterations to her Medicate for All scheme, according to Reuters. The candidate is now talking about “choice” in her sweeping healthcare proposal.
“Elizabeth Warren has recalibrated her rhetoric on Medicare for All, as concerns about her support for replacing private insurance with a government-run plan continue to buffet her once-surging Democratic presidential campaign. During a three-day, seven-stop tour of Iowa last weekend, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts repeatedly emphasized the word “choice” and focused on the transition plan she unveiled last month that would delay full implementation of the sweeping healthcare overhaul for three years. “It’s your choice if you want to come in and get full healthcare coverage,’ Warren told about 180 people at a community center in Clinton, Iowa.”
Warren has seen Biden, who advocates an enhancement of the existing Obamacare system, and Pete Buttigieg, who has proposed something that has been termed “Medicare if You Want It”, pass her in the polls.
However, as she starts back-peddling from Medicate for All, Warren has started taking fire from Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Among a certain segment of the Democratic base, purity is all and that means no compromise for Medicare for All.
Warren has been cagey about what she means by “choice?” Does she mean that if people like their private healthcare plans, they can keep them? Americans have heard that promise before.
It also sounds like Buttigieg’s plan, something Warren has denied. Or perhaps she means that Medicare for All will have a variety of plans, tailored for individual needs? So far, the “choice” feature has only made it into stump speeches and not policy documents.
Warren has also started to try to change the subject. She is concentrating on government corruption and, especially, on her plans to fleece billionaires by imposing a wealth tax. The wealth tax is meant to help pay for Medicare for All.
However, the tax is also a direct assault on concentrations of private wealth. Warren and others of her mindset believe that it is obscene that someone should have billions of dollars. Stripping rich people of their money is part of her populist message, no matter how the decrease of private equity would adversely affect the economy.